Nurses unions go up against hos­pi­tals as year ends

Modern Healthcare - - EDITORIAL MODERN HEALTHCARE - Ashok Selvam

Nurses unions stage year-end ac­tions against hos­pi­tals

Fes­tivus, the fic­tional De­cem­ber hol­i­day pop­u­lar­ized by TV’S “Se­in­feld,” fea­tured an an­nual air­ing of griev­ances, and thou­sands of nurses across the coun­try cel­e­brated the rit­ual with a flurry of union ac­tiv­ity as the year closed.

Cal­i­for­nia nurses on Dec. 23, for the sec­ond time in three months, de­clared a one-day strike af­fect­ing 6,000 nurses at 10 hos­pi­tals. That same day, nurses at 181-bed Cy­press Fair­banks Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Hous­ton filed a com­plaint with the National La­bor Re­la­tions Board against the hos­pi­tal over con­cerns about a sick-day pol­icy that union nurses said forces them to work while they have the flu.

On the East Coast, nurses at St. Luke’s-roo­sevelt Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter in New York City called for a Jan. 3 strike at the 711-bed hos­pi­tal, but the walk­out was averted when the New York State Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion reached an agree­ment late Dec. 26. Two other New York City hos­pi­tals also were threat­ened with strikes by nurses, in­clud­ing 1,039-bed Mt. Sinai Hos­pi­tal, which a few days later reached an agree­ment with its nurses. How­ever, ne­go­ti­a­tions broke down with 1,490-bed Mon­te­fiore Med­i­cal Cen­ter, and its union re­sponded by call­ing for a Jan. 10 walk­out. Whether those talks with Mon­te­fiore pro­duced an agree­ment was un­known as of press time. Of­fi­cials at Sut­ter Health, the par­ent of eight Cal­i­for­nia hos­pi­tals where nurses missed work Dec. 23, crit­i­cized the union for their pre-christ­mas tim­ing: “It’s al­ways tougher for pa­tients, es­pe­cially tougher for the hol­i­days,” said Karen Gar­ner, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Sut­ter in Sacra­mento, Calif.

Karen Higgins, one of three National Nurses United co-pres­i­dents, scoffed at that no­tion and said the close rap­port nurses hold with pa­tients gives them bet­ter knowl­edge than most of how hol­i­days af­fect pa­tients, and added that hos­pi­tals served fewer pa­tients dur­ing the hol­i­days: “If you want to make a point with as lit­tle ef­fect on pa­tient care,

Nurses at Sut­ter Health, who went on strike Dec. 23, were crit­i­cized for their pre-christ­mas tim­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.